C1 Sheikh Hassan and Ali Al-Neama set for Class 1 season finale in Dubai

Skydive Dubai-Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, December 8-10, 2011

For immediate release
Tuesday, December 6th, 2011


· Spirit of Qatar crews bidding for Middle East Championship title
· Spirit of Qatar 95 chase Edox Pole Position glory in Dubai
· Sheikh Hassan expects rough weather conditions in the UAE

DUBAI (UAE): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Ali Al-Neama are making their final preparations for this weekend’s Skydive Dubai-Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix, the fourth and final round of this year’s UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.

The president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) again teams up with Steve Curtis MBE in Spirit of Qatar 96. Al-Neama is joined by Italy’s Matteo Nicolini at the helm of Spirit of Qatar 95, with both crews eyeing the Middle East Powerboat Championship title and a triumphant finale to the shortened Class 1 racing season.

Sheikh Hassan still has an excellent chance to snatch the outright World Championship title from the grasp of Dubai’s Victory 3 and knows that a good start is required in the first of the two Dubai offshore races on Friday afternoon.

“The weather forecast does not look good for the race weekend,” said Sheikh Hassan. “But I do believe that we have a good chance in both races, as our boats work well in rougher conditions. I hope that this will work to our advantage, so I am hoping for moderate seas this weekend.

“The forecast has mentioned windy conditions and I am sure that the course will need to be changed, as the boats will be running against a head wind and that could be dangerous. We have already spoken publicly about the course, stating that it’s unsafe if we get windy conditions. I hope our views have been taken on board.”

Sheikh Hassan realises that the Victory 3 boat is the one to beat on its home course, but is confident nonetheless. “Victory Team is running a shorter boat, which I think is a disadvantage in open sea conditions. I think, if I was them, I would go all out for the win, but they have so much on their plate this weekend from everybody! I think we will need to create a team plan to stop them winning the Middle East Championship.”

Dependant upon the weather, the Spirit of Qatar Team was planning a test session before the racing action gets underway with the official first practice on Thursday afternoon at 14.00hrs (UAE time). Spirit of Qatar 95 can mathematically still win the title, but Sheikh Hassan admits that ‘this may be a team decision come race day.”

“Our goal, quite simply, is the number one slot on the podium and we will work towards that as a team. We will also aim to win the Middle East Championship.”

Spirit of Qatar 96 currently trails Victory 3 by just 10 points in the Middle East title race, with two races remaining. Spirit of Qatar 95 is a further 11 points behind and also has an excellent chance of clinching either first or second overall in the Edox Pole Position Championship. Al-Neama and Nicolini are one point ahead of Team Abu Dhabi and trail Victory 3 by 13 points heading into Friday’s final Edox Pole Position of the season.

The all-important Edox Pole Position starts at 09.30hrs on Friday morning and is followed by the first 55.26Nm Dubai race at 14.00hrs. This will take place over one start lap, 10 normal laps of the course and one compulsory long lap.

After a final practice session from 10.00hrs on Saturday morning, the second Skydive Dubai-Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix starts at 14.00hrs and will take place over one start lap, 13 normal laps and two compulsory long laps to make a total of 73.86 Nm.

UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship – latest standings
1. Victory 3 103 pts
2. Spirit of Qatar 96 77 pts
3. Spirit of Qatar 95 63 pts
4. Poliform 74 40 pts
5. Team Abu Dhabi 5 38 pts
6. Relekta 91 23 pts, etc

UIM Class 1 Middle East Powerboat Championship – latest standings
1. Victory 3 40 pts
2. Spirit of Qatar 96 30 pts
3. Spirit of Qatar 95 19 pts
3. Fendi Racing 10 19 pts
5. Team Abu Dhabi 18 pts
6. Poliform 74 10 pts, etc

Edox Pole Position Championship – latest standings
1. Victory 3 55 pts
2. Spirit of Qatar 95 42 pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 41 pts
4. Spirit of Qatar 96 23 pts
5. Fendi Racing 10 18 pts
6. Poliform 74 11 pts, etc


For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com,
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).




Date issued: 06/12/2011

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